Summertime and the Mesdames are still rocking it with film, books, events and more recognition! We’ve also had time for reflection on what it means to be Canadian and who we are as writers. Some of us have baked in record-high temperatures and we’ve seen the terrible consequences of climate change to fellow Canadians and those in the Pacific Northwest.
Yet with the pandemic on the wane, thanks to our Public Health and to vaccinations, we look forward to a summer of new hopes and more accomplishments to come.
Documentary Month 1st – 31st July 2021
Our fab film maker, Cat Mills and her producer, Felicity Justrabo, get our mega congrats. Our film, The Mesdames of Mayhem, is being screened at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.
Caro Soles‘s, latest book, The Colony Dancers, the fifth in the Merculian series is now available on Amazon!
All Merculian is excited about the visiting Colony Dancers. The children’s group is so cute in their old-fashioned outfits and few stop to question how they acquired their brilliant technique so young, or why they are all so carefully guarded. Meanwhile, Investigator Marlo is tantalized by the strong resemblance of one of the young dancers to a child who was kidnapped long ago.
How far will the guardians go to keep the secrets of the Colony Dancers?
Melissa Yi will be speaking at Toronto Sisters in Crime via Zoom on Thursday, July 15th, 7 p.m. Melissa will be appearing as both an emergency room physician and an award-winning author to teach us how to make sure medical details in your manuscript are true to life. Plus a Q&A about common medical mistakes in crime fiction!
On Saturday, July 3rd,M. H. Callway was delighted to be one of the authors in Moonlight and Misadventure interviewed by author and podcaster Joanna VanderVlugt. AUTHOR | JCVArtStudio. The Moonlight and Misdadventure podcast included a terrific interactive panel with authors Elizabeth Elwood, Susan Jane Wright, Karen Abrahamson, Susan Daly and Judy Penz Sheluk, who edited and published the anthology.
Earlier in June, Madeleine was a guest on Art Taylor’s blog, The First Two Pages, where she revealed the craft behind the opening pages of “Moon God” – and the challenge of moving from bureaucratese to creating crime fiction! Read the blogpost on “Moon God“.
On Thursday, June 24th, 7pm,Madeleine will be reading from “The Moon God of Broadmoor”. She joins authors David Rotenberg and Robert Rotenberg at Toronto’s virtual Noir at the Bar, hosted by Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson.https://www.facebook.com/noiratthebartoronto
Kevin Thornton is keeping busy. Not only has he rejoined the board for Crime Writers of Canada, he’s also kept busy on the Awards, Marketing and Membership Committees, the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Board of the local arts council here in Fort McMurray.
And that’s not all. He’s had a short story published in the latest MX Sherlock Holmes Short Story Collection, and has three more due by the end of June for their next volumes. He’s also got a story in the upcoming anthology Asinine Assassins, as well as Rich Ryan’s collection Sherlock Holmes, A Year of Mystery 1882, for the August story.
Jayne Barnard is thrilled to announce the re-release of her award-winning Maddie Hatter Adventures. Twice finalists for the Aurora Award & named 2018 Alberta Book of the Year, these family-friendly novels follow a heroine as inquisitive as Eloise Bridgerton, as daring as Miss Scarlet, and as sharp a sleuth as Lady Holmes herself.
In Deadly Diamond this amateur detective hunts a legendary gemstone, trails a cunning con-woman from Egypt to Europe & beyond, and goes undercover against a penny-pinching airship heiress who never lets a good grudge die. Available June 1 from Amazon. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B095MBTD9Y
Book 2: Gilded Gauge is coming up for preorder any day now, and we’ll be launching a cover vote for Book 3 in early June.
Tyler Demir left the RCMP after an undercover operation he was in charge of turned deadly. Refusing to make life and death decisions anymore, he now works as assistant head of security for a military funded Canadian nano-tech company. But when one of their scientists is kidnapped, the military send Tyler to England to retrieve him.
Not sure who to trust, Tyler uses contacts from his undercover days to get the scientist to safety. At every step, he sees the rescue crumble around him and again he has blood on his hands.
How the hell did he manage to go from a stress-free job, where lives didn’t depend on his split-second decisions, to this?
Blair Keetch‘s short story ‘Killings 4 Sale’ appears with Kevin Thornton‘s story, “One Good Thing” in the upcoming anthology ‘Asinine Assassins’ by Smart Rhino Publishing to be released in late 2021.
Bony Blithe, our winsome, fun-loving skeletal lass, has several announcements to make today, but let’s start with the most important and happiest one: the winner of the 2021 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, a literary award for books that make us smile.
Drumroll, please…and congratulations to our 2021 winner:
Iona Whishaw, A Match Made for Murder (Touchwood Editions)
In this 7th book in the Lane Winslow Mystery series, it’s November 1947 and newlyweds Lane Winslow and police inspector Fred Darling can’t escape murder, even on their honeymoon in sunny Tucson, AZ, some 2600 km away from their home in Nelson, BC.
Want to see what critics say about Iona’s book? Check out the jolly winner video produced by Caro Soles at www.bonyblithe.com.
The Bony Blithe is an annual Canadian award celebrating traditional, feel-good mysteries. Now in its 10th year, the award includes everything from laugh-out-loud to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore – in short, books that are fun to read.
Party, Party, Party
We’re still planning to have an event to celebrate our 2020 and 2021 Bony Blithe Award winners as well as Bony Blithe’s 10th birthday, but we still don’t know when. We’re hoping for this October/November or alternately sometime in spring 2022. It all depends on what Ontario Public Health rules about group gatherings. Considering that many of us are at “that certain age” and the rest of us would like to get there, we will be limiting attendance to people who have been fully vaccinated. Stay tuned for more information on our FB page or www.bonyblithe.com.
End of an Era
Bony Blithe is retiring. We’ve had a great run over the past 10 years, but now it’s time for our bony lass to rest her weary bones. We’d like to thank all the publishers and authors who’ve made the Bony Blithe Light mystery award the huge success it has been and who’ve given us so many delightful books to make us smile.
While we will no longer have an annual award and mini-con, we still want to pay homage to our wonderful Canuck light mystery authors, so watch for Bare Bones, the new and exciting Bony Blithe Light Mystery newsletter, coming soon.
The multi-genre conference, When Words Collide, is being held on Zoom from August 12-15th
o Panelists will include several Mesdames. Confirmed so far: Jayne Barnard and M. H. Callway.
o Registration is free, no cap on numbers but attendees must register beforehand
o This popular conference is an excellent way for authors to learn new writing tools and marketing strategies and to explore other genres. Lots of social events and readings, too.
Madona Skaff is delighted to announce that the cover reveal for her new SF novel,Shifting Trust, will be this Saturday, May 29th at 7 p.m. (EST). Just a side note: the cover art was created by her very talented daughter! There’ll be readings as well as the world premiere of the exciting book trailer! Oh, and there’ll be door prizes!
Here’s the link for the Facebook event. Don’t forget to also register on Eventbrite.
In “Days Without Name”,Sylvia Maultash Warsh offers us a glimpse into her classic yet subtle understanding of the human condition. This exceptional tale, set in the heart of the Mayan jungle, was featured in A Grave Diagnosis (Carrick Publishing, 2020) and is a finalist for the 2021 Crime Writers of Canada Best Short Story Award.
It’s easy to see why the judges were drawn to “Days Without Name.” Sylvia‘s readers will recognize her lyrical insight:
And congratulations to Mme Melissa Yi for the publication of “Dead Man’s Hand,” her story about Richie, a Texas garbage collector who must win a poker game or… It’s in the April issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Three stories in AHMM and three times her name on the cover. A perfect trifecta! We’re even more proud of Melissa for her work as a physician on the front lines battling COVID!
May is not only awards month for the Mesdames, but also includes recognition in online writers’ panels and even an Italian/English interview with one of our Mesdames.And we’re still publishing new work.
FUN FACTS ABOUT… MME EMERITA ROSEMARY AUBERT
Rosemary Aubert started her writing life as a poet and wrote and edited romance before turning to crime…fiction. She holds a certificate in criminology and has drawn on her working experience in Canada’s justice system to create her beloved Ellis Portal series and standalones, including her chilling novella, Terminal Grill. She has won the CWC Award of Excellence for both Best Novel and Best Short Story.
Rosemary is a sought-after teacher of creative writing, delivering countless seminars, workshops and authors’ retreats in addition to classes at the University of Toronto and Loyalist College. Though she claims to be retired, she published the critically acclaimed historical novel, The Light in Trieste, and is planning a textbook on writing crime fiction.
The Mesdames of Mayhem: What do readers expect when they meet you?
Rosemary: I think readers find me to be pretty much what they expect: a rather contemplative aging author but with lots to say when questioned!
Mesdames: What would surprise readers about you?
Rosemary: They’d be surprised to know that I used to be quite a dancer. I studied ballet for several years and spent lots of evenings doing Scottish country dancing.
Mesdames: You used your work experience for your crime fiction, but have you ever mined your personal life?
Not really. I find it so much more interesting to investigate, learn about and depict the wide world outside of myself. But there is one exception.
I grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. We used to cross over the border regularly to buy Red Rose Tea in Canada – and firecrackers! My cross-border childhood experiences inspired my story, “The Canadian Caper” in our first anthology, Thirteen. In my story, two elderly ladies in a Niagara Falls old-age home use a cross-border social lunch to expose a smuggling ring.
Silvia Warsh’s story, “Days Without Name” (Carrick Publishing), is a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada‘s (CWC) Awards of Excellence for Best Crime Short Story!
Sisters in Crime West’s first anthology, Crime Wave, has two nominations for CWC’s Awards of Excellence. The collection was edited by Mme Jayne Barnard together with sister-in-crime, Karen L. Abrahamson with a foreword by Mme Melodie Campbell. “Cold Wave” by Marcelle Dube is a finalist for best short story and “Salty Dog Blues” by Winona Kent for best novella.
The announcement of the winners for the CWC Awards takes place online on Thursday, May 27th.
On May 13th, Rosemary will be the guest speaker of Na’amat Canada, talking about writing crime fiction. Na’amat Canada is a non-profit volunteer Jewish women’s organization whose mandate is improving the lives of women, children and families in Israel.
ONTARIO LIBRARY TECHNICIANS ASSOCIATIONCONFERENCE
Several of the Mmes are on Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) panels for the Ontario Library Technicians Association virtual conference being held May 8 to 15.
Monday, May 10th, 12:00 to 12:45 p.m., Rosemary McCracken is on the panel: Clearly Canadian, All Canadian Settings, eh?
Tuesday, May 11th, 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. M. H. Callway and Melissa Yi are on the panel: The Long and Short of It, Writing Short Stories and Novellas, moderated by Judy Penz Sheluk, Chair, Board of Directors, CWC.
Thursday, May 13th, 12:00 to 12:45 pm, MelodieCampbell and Caro Soles are on the panel: Make ‘Em Laugh, Comic Relief to Comic Caper
Thursday, May 13th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Melodie Campbell joins the CWC Author Spotlight Special Discussion Panel
INTERVIEW FOR ITALIAN EDITION OF NO FURY LIKE THAT
Join Lisa de Nikolits in an Italian/English interview by an Italian blogger for the Italian translation of her 2017 book No Fury Like That.
AND DON’T FORGET…
The announcement of the winner of the Bony Blithe Award 2021 takes place online on Friday, May 28th. It’s also Bony Blithe’s 10th Anniversary!
Congratulations to Mme Sylvia Maultash Warsh on her story “Days Without Name” in the anthology A Grave Diagnosis (Carrick Publishing 2020) being shortlisted for Best Crime Short Story 2021 by the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence!
An author’s best friends are bookstores and librarians who together link us to you, our readers. They introduce our novels and stories to people who would otherwise never learn about them. They alert our fans to our new works. And in the real world, they celebrate with us at our book launches and readings. No wonder they are our BBF’s – best friends forever!
“Whenever I go into an independent bookstore, it always feels a little like coming home. I can browse through countless books, or read a paragraph or two. And if I have trouble deciding which book or books to buy, (because I’ve always believed it’s bad luck to leave a bookstore empty handed) I can comfortably turn to one of the staff to ask for advice. I’ve been to several bookstores, in many different cities, but my favourite is – Perfect Books in Ottawa.”
Mme Madona Skaff
INTERVIEW WITH OWNER, JIM SHERMAN
After Jim Sherman retired from teaching English in high school, he looked for something new to be involved in. When Perfect Books (open since 1994) came up for sale in 2009, he bought it. Since then, Jim has been a staunch supporter of local authors. I’ve attended a few events there. Such as the book signings of the first novel in my Naya Investigates series, along with fellow Mme Melissa Yi.
“It’s always fun to do author events,” Jim says, “whether they’re in the store, an art festival or another venue. It’s particularly gratifying when we host local authors. There’s a rich tradition of local Mystery authors here in Ottawa and their launch events are always gratifying.”
And it’s not just the book events that make Perfect Books special. Jim, manager Michael Varty, and the rest of the staff are incredibly dedicated to their customers.
“I suppose that the best feelings as a bookseller occur when you come up with just the right book for just the right person. Often it’s something they never would have reached for on their own.”
And just when you think things couldn’t get any better, Perfect books will be expanding!
“We’ve grown steadily over the past few years and we took a big leap forward during the Pandemic, despite missing all of the author events and Festivals we usually service. We’ve talked about expanding and our next door neighbour just ended his lease. So by early May, we will have broken through the wall between the two shops and acquired an extra 600 square feet of space.”
With the landlord’s help, the shop will have new flooring, lights and shelves.
“It’s nerve-racking and a bit overwhelming right now, but when it’s done it will breathe new life into the shop just as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.”
As soon as you walk into the store, it’s obvious that Jim and his staff love their job and their customers.
“Our customers have been wonderfully supportive over the past three years. We’ve been through two years of street construction and a year of COVID and we keep growing, all of which I attribute to an excellent staff, led by Michael Varty … and a loyal and growing customer base.”
I can’t wait to see the new store and actually have an in-person event hosted there.
“We’re looking forward to a new normal someday soon!”
Madona Skaff writes the Naya Investigates series, about a young woman who is recently disabled by multiple sclerosis, then turns sleuth to solve crimes. She also has a stand alone science fiction novel, Shifting Trust, coming out in the fall of 2021.